Grassroots volunteers mingled with local and statewide Democratic Party glitterati at the official campaign kick-off event for Dr. Randall Friese, who is running for a seat in Arizona House of Representatives.
Friese recently announced his candidacy for one of LD9's two seats in the Arizona House. Currently, LD9, which stretches from Speedway in midtown north into the Foothills, is a competitive district being served by Republican Ethan Orr and Democrat Victoria Steele in the House and Democrat Steve Farley in the Arizona Senate.
Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her astronaut husband Mark Kelly hosted an estimated 130 stalwarts of the Pima County Democratic Party, including current County Chair Don Jorgenson, past Chair Jeff Rogers, and several current and former elected Democrats: LD9 Rep. Victoria Steele, LD10 Reps. Stephanie Mach and Bruce Wheeler, LD10 Senator Dave Bradley, Tucson City Councilwoman Karin Uhlich, former Surgeon General Dr. Richard Carmona, former Attorney General and current Secretary of State candidate Terry Goddard, and former Rep. Nancy Young-Wright. (Farley was conspicuously absent, following a social media dust-up on Friday over this article in the Arizona Daily Star.)
Former Giffords' staffer Pam Simon and Kelly gave impassioned speeches about Friese, who was one of the University Medical Center trauma surgeons who cared for Giffords and others who were shot on January 8, 2011. During Giffords' long stay in UMC's intensive care unit (ICU), Kelly and Friese became friends and had many late-night ICU discussions on multiple topics-- including politics. According to Kelly, Friese and Giffords are similar in that they are dedicated to finding solutions, not playing politics. [Friese vs Orr on the issues, after the jump.]